Marvin wins a Million and Eli leaves us wondering.


Chris Cooksey

The Monster Energy Cup is the most significant offseason race for 450 Supercross teams, allowing riders an opportunity to measure their progress with their existing team heading into the 2018 series.  And we can’t forget the million dollar grand prize to any rider who finishes first in all three main events.  For other riders like Justin Barcia, MEC is an audition for any future potential team exploring options.  The unfortunate truth is riders get hurt while preparing for Anaheim 1 in January.  If a team is in need of a last minute fill in, a standout MEC performance can move a rider to the top of the possible replacements list.  

The MEC is unlike other Supercross races in format and track design.   Adding in a Joker’s Lane that Marvin admitted in the postrace press conference he forgot about in his first race.  Feld (the promoter) utilizes the Monster Cup as a trial to test format and track changes.  It also allows for amateurs who qualified via Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National a chance to race on a tamed down (highly debatable) Supercross track in front of thousands of spectators, live on TV.  While I enjoyed watching these kids take center stage I also wondered about the safety hazard of sending kids in the middle of puberty (makes them crazy and irrational) out on a track with such aggressive obstacles. The first couple of practices and qualifying sessions looked more like Russian Roulette than Supercross racing. The amateurs represent the epitome of “whatever it takes” and at such a young age unfortunately, some of them need to be protected from themselves.  With that said I thoroughly enjoy watching them show off their incredible talents, but am conflicted if this is good for them or if they are being exploited for entertainment purposes.

It only took 7 years, but Marvin Musquin finally duplicated Ryan Villopoto’s inaugural MEC win.  Heading into the first main event the biggest threat to Marvin was Eli Tomac, but Eli went down hard in the first race and was unable to continue the rest of the night.  With Eli out, the race quickly became Musquin’s millions as he easily cruised through three wins to take home the million.  The only rider who appeared to be formidable competition was Jason Anderson.  Both Marvin and Jason train at the Baker’s Factory so it was difficult to imagine a pass from Anderson in the third main event, Anderson’s lap times reflected his lack of aggression.  Let me be clear though, I do NOT think Anderson gave Marvin the win however, if Blake Baggett was the rider going for the million dollars JA would have charged a little harder.  At the postrace press conference I asked Marvin what his thoughts were being “the man” heading into the offseason and in typical Marvin style he downplayed his ride.  He expressed it felt great but it really didn’t carry much weight when Anaheim rolls around.  What was more interesting was the look Jason Anderson shot me when I called Marvin “the man.”  Jason looked as though I had insulted his mother.  While I am sure he is happy for his teammate the truth is these guys don’t achieve the highest level of racing by accepting someone’s performance as better than them.  I suspect tension will come to a boil at the Baker’s Factory this offseason.

Eli Tomac remains a mystery.  At times he would lay down a few sections looking like the fastest guy on earth but then he would follow up with a major mistake.  He has a few months to figure things out, but right now Marvin Musquin looks to be the favorite going into 2018.  We all know Ken Roczen says he will be at Anaheim 1 and according to Jeremy McGrath he looks very fast.  The MEC might have created more questions than answers heading into 2018.  Let the bench racing begin, we have a few months to debate and lock in our predictions for 2018.

 

0106D227-8DAA-4A72-BA79-6A6BF3D37EE9.jpeg.8965b3d1f25e99a183f50f5ff86354d2.jpeg

Nobody was taking a knee during this National Anthem!  Great tribute to the victims of the Vegas shooting too.

 

79E5B7C7-9B24-41D9-8A50-4BEC9361732E.jpeg.23b45281d45ab822fe1ec93e8c442c7c.jpeg

After getting throttled by Stephane Roncada while testing out the new Supercross game I decided to sit back and learn.  Game will be released Feb 2018 and it is insanely realistic!

1 person likes this




User Feedback


There are no comments to display.



Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Cooksey
      I just finished the Monster Energy Cup press conference and practice session.  It’s been a while since I have asked questions at a press conference so I was a little nervous.  It was intimidating sitting next to Motocross Journalists Steve Cox and Steve Giberson (aka, GuyB) as they are the gold standard for print journalists in our sport. The pre-race press conferences are usually the most boring of any press conferences because the riders are focused on the upcoming race.  I would love to throw a couple hardballs at the guys, but I don’t think that’s fair as they are in getting into their racing mindset.  I really wanted to ask Eli if he was well rested after skipping the Des Nations, but this was not the time or place.  I did ask Barcia why he was on a Honda, all summer he was campaigning to ride the Factory KTM.  While that didn’t materialize I thought if he showed up on a privateer KTM and showed them what he could do on a KTM they might rethink their decision and add a third bike to the team.  This was the most crowded press conference that I have attended, the room was jam packed.
       
      After the Q&A the riders hit the track for about 30 minutes, they lined them up like a start and let them practice dropping down the 30 foot embankment onto the stadium floor.  Unfortunately for Justin Barcia this is as far as he made it before swapping out and crashing hard at the bottom of the start ramp.  He was alright but his new Honda was twisted up pretty bad. He missed almost the entire session.  The surprise was Tyler Bowers on his #69 Kawasaki, he was the only rider consistently clearing a double coming out of the sand section and was one of the first riders to go 3-3-3 in the rhythm section coming back into the stadium.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bowers get a podium.  Eli Tomac looked like the same guy who rode his bike back in New Jersey (awkward and stiff), but that could change if he wakes up on the other side of the bed.  Marvin Musquin looks like the “guy” this year, he has a quiet confidence and will no doubt win one of the 3 main events tomorrow.  Jason Anderson and Tim Gajser both looked good and will no doubt be in the mix.  I can’t wait for tomorrow to see who steps up and if anyone can want the million.
       
       

      Eli doing his best “Blue Steel”

      Bogle explaining how easy it was to join JGR


      Barcia barley made it to the Dirt before sampling it...



      Big man Benny Bloss showing off the Fly MEC LE Gear 


      Watch for Bowers tomorrow night, he is riding good!!!!


       
    • By Chris Cooksey
      What should I ask the guys?  You can watch live at https://livestream.com/SupercrossLIVE/events/7790575
      TT representing!
    • By Chris Cooksey
      Ken Roczen is riding again!  Since his historic crash in Anaheim, Roczen’s career has been in limbo with only hints and speculations by industry insiders of his return.  Ken continued to fuel hints via social media by documenting his surgeries and sharing with his fans his road to recovery since the horrific crash that severely damaged his left arm.  To date he has endured twelve surgeries on his left arm leading many to question his future riding ability.  Today at Mesquite Motocross Park while burning some Pre-Labor Day BBQ calories I noticed a clean looking Honda 450 with the number #94 plate.  I had stumbled across the HOLY GRAIL, Ken Roczen on a motocross track! While he was clearly cruising and getting comfortable, his talent is undeniable in case anyone is wondering.  
      Ken did two Moto’s roughly 30 minutes in length.  Until today I wondered if he would ever be the same rider he was before the accident.  After watching him ride I am confident we will see a dominant champion return.  I had the opportunity to chat with Ken, and while he did not want to answer any questions about his return, my guess is he will be ready for Anaheim 1.  
       
       
       
    • By Chris Cooksey
      Last year during the Red Bull Straight Rhythm, Alta Motors unveiled their Redshift motocross bike proving to critics the electric bike is no longer a novelty.  Recently, I had the opportunity to test ride the Redshift bike and tour Alta Motors.  I was blown away by the power of the bike and thought if someone replaced my gas powered bike (KTM350SX) with the Redshift I would not miss a beat.  The Redshift is comparable to any modern gas powered 250cc four stroke motorcycle, minus the noise pollution and emission of exhaust, but this article is not about the breakdown or the technical aspects of the bike.  
      There are quite a few articles out there that already do an exceptional job of reviewing the Redshift, you can find the information at www.altamotors.com.  Having a competitive Electric Motorcycle that offers comparable or superior performance to a gas powered machine can open new opportunities to the Motocross world and ultimately expand the industry, key word expand not replace.  Electric motorcycles are the future, opening doors to new riding areas and attracting a fresh generation of enthusiasts.

      Ripping in the city, causing no disruption.

      As city populations grow, riding areas and racing facilities continue to decline. Racing facilities are coming under fire for noise pollution, and in some cases are pressured to close or relocate to a further distance.  This problem began with 2 Stroke motors but 4 Stroke motors have significantly amplified the issue.  Electric bikes are not completely silent, but they are quiet enough to ride in highly populated areas without disturbing neighbors.  Anyone with land can have their own track, it doesn't matter if it's next to a library, the bikes does not cause noise disruptions.  With quiet motors and no exhaust, indoor riding facilities become a possibility.  Earplugs and giant industrial sized fans will no longer be required to make an indoor facility bearable.  
      Having fun while not bothering anyone.

      This is not to say electric bikes will not encounter their own challenges, run time was my main concern.  With that said, I hammered the Redshift (as fast as a 42 year old B rider can) on a motocross track for a solid 45 minutes and 18.9 miles before the battery was done.  It takes 2.5 hours to recharge, so if I had plugged the motorcycle in during my water break (about 30 min) I could have added approximately a quarter of charge back to the bike.  If I had charged the motorcycle it would have outlasted my fitness.  Alta Motors explained the bike would decrease power as the battery ran down, but I hardly noticed the difference.  The Redshift is the first generation of Alta Motors and motorcycle performance, and battery life will only improve from here.  With simple updates to your motorcycle’s software Alta motorcycle owners are constantly receiving the latest upgraded technology.  Rather than rebuilding your ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) motor, you can install an update.
      A look inside the Redshift motor

      I often ask people at motorcycle dealerships their opinion of electric and I receive instant resistance that is eerily similar to the past when motorcycles changed from 2 Stroke to 4 Stroke.  I remember the first 4 Stroke motorcycle I owned, it was a 2001 YZ426 and after 4 months I decided I was done with Motocross.  It was hard to start, it flamed out and handled like a bread truck. As gearheads we sometimes struggle with accepting change. For example, how much attention does any 2 Stroke event receive these days?  In 2004 after a few years of not riding, I was convinced to try a Honda CRF450 and to my surprise it started easy, had trackable power and handled like a motorcycle. I was back riding and hooked on motocross again!  If electric follows a similar development curve, bikes in the next few years are going to rapidly improve as the starting point is further developed than 4 Stroke motorcycles were in 2001.  Electric motors are simple and leave opportunities for manufacturers to create a plethora of bikes to suit all rider’s needs and budgets.  
      The guys hard at work in the assembly line.
       
      Today's kids are not riding motorcycles because they have iPads, Drones, Xbox and many other electronics to compete for their attention. If electric motorcycles create more urban riding areas and motorcycles with less bike maintenance, electric has potential to grab hold of the next generation.  My kids enjoy riding but don’t like the extremely loud sounds of 4 Stroke motorcycles and the 1-2 hour commute to our nearest track.  They would rather commute 10 minutes to the nearest BMX or skate park.  Imagine if parks could convert into an electric motocross track, far more kids would try motocross.  We need to involve younger kids in the sport we love or risk losing it.  I would love to see motorcross as a high school sport. Electric motorcycles will not take over all aspects of motocross, the electric motorcycle’s battery life may not be suited for sand tracks or long rides for quite some time.  There is definitely room for both electric and gas motors to coexist.  Motocross riders, myself included typically have more than one bike.  I would love to ride an electric track in town during the week and then hit the Sand Dunes on the weekend with an ICE bike.  Both can exist and compliment the industry and lifestyle.
      I got the guys to smile for a pic, then right back to work.

      I am a gear-head at heart and love the smell of burnt 2 Stroke oil, the vibration of an ICE motor and the sound of a full gate of motorcycles wide open waiting for the gate to drop.  These sounds and smells will never be replaced for me because they invoke memories that make up my entire life.  While electric bikes do not offer the sound or smell stimulations as and ICE bike they will open up new opportunities.  Have you ever wondered what Supercross riders say to each other after a dirty block pass?  With Electric bikes there is a good chance you will hear the conversation.  Will the electric generation of racers use trash talk?  No more need for pit boards, just yell!  The same joy I receive from the smell of 2 Stroke oil or hearing a bike roar will be what the electric generation receives from a buzzing sound similar to an RC car along with the sound of tires spinning.  Yes, I said the sound of the tires on the dirt.  About 5 minutes into my Redshift ride I stopped and checked to see if I had a flat.  Chad at Alta Motors erupted into laughter as almost everyone who rides the bike assumes the same.  Dirt Bike tires make a lot of noise, but the motorcycle usually drowns out the sound.  Hearing your tires might lead to advancements in tire performance, who knows?
      Chad from Alta showing his Endurocross prowess.
       
      The team at Alta Motors received homologation for FIM North America competition in the 250 class.  This unlocks Canada and propels them halfway closer to AMA Supercross, where they really want to race.  They have big plans this offseason.  Alta Motors is returning to Red Bull Straight Rhythm and including additional European Supercross events.  While racing with gas bikes proves they are not a novelty, attention should be focused on an electric only event too.  If the Electric bike is as fast as or faster than an ICE motorcycle the sport could expand to unthinkable territory.   All the major manufacturers have purchased Alta Redshift motorcycles to study and dissect.  They see the future and it’s ELECTRIC!
      Another shot of Chad.
       
      Here are some other articles and podcasts out there with information about the Alta Redshift:
      https://www.altamotors.co/redshiftmx#redshift-mx https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rocky-mountain-atv-mc-keefer-tested-podcast/id1245516386?mt=2&i=1000391436611 http://www.cycleworld.com/alta-motors-redshift-mx-electric-motocross-bike-full-test-review#page-3 http://motocross.transworld.net/videos/first-impression-2017-alta-redshift-mx/#eiydtZMiphJBuSgs.97  
       

    • By Chris Cooksey
      Fly 2018 Lite Hydrogen Racewear:
      Fly Racing has been in the business of designing gear for over twenty years.  Long gone are the initial growing pains of the early years, as Fly is now known for setting the industry standard.  The 2018 Fly Racing lineup is proving to be just that; innovative, style with a focus on function.  In the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross 450 main events, Fly Racing had more riders than any other gear line.  With feedback from the best riders in the world, Fly has created a 2018 lineup that is unmatched.  I am going to spotlight my favorite line, Lite Hydrogen.

      The Lite Hydrogen line was born at the request of Team Honda.  In an effort to save weight Team Honda paid out big money to replace almost every bolt on Trey Canard’s Factory Honda with titanium.  When one of the engineers discovered how heavy his Fly pants were, (circa 2011) they were not pleased.  Fly Racing realized that not only do their pants have to be incredibly durable and high quality, they also must be lightweight.  The Lite Hydrogen pant was created thus becoming the first pant on the market to focus on light weight.  Since its creation many other companies have attempted to create similar versions, but the Lite Hydrogen still leads the way.

      The 2018 version of the Lite Hydrogen gear soars to new heights with the BOA closure system.  The issue with lightweight pants from all companies is the tendency to slide down in the rear with gripper seats.  With the BOA closure system this is no longer an issue.  Once cinched down, the pants feel as though they are tailored to fit perfectly.  The BOA system incorporated in the pants was the brainchild of Coach Seiji and Andrew Short.  Andrew is very very particular about the fit of his gear and Coach Seiji figured out how to make the BOA system work with the Fly Pants.  Andrew wanted to use the system, but Fly Racing likes to offer everything available to their paid athletes to their end consumers.  With this information Fly designers got with BOA and made this a regular feature.   In addition to the BOA closure system, the Lite Hydrogen pant is the only pant in this category with a leather knee and triple stitched Kevlar holding it in place.  Don’t forget a standard feature of this pant, and ALL pants Fly produces, is the ratcheting buckle.  I am still surprised to see other brands without this feature on their high end pants.

      The Lite Hydrogen Jersey is an athletic fit, not compression like some jerseys but snug.  The jersey is comfortable enough that I could wear it to bed.  With mesh ventilation side panels and open zero cuffs the Lite Hydrogen jersey provides everything I want and more from my jersey.  Everyone can wear the athletic cut, but if you are more of a “Dad bod” type, be sure and go up one size in your jersey.
      http://www.flyracing.com/
      http://www.wps-inc.com/